DWP waste £4.6billion in private sector spending

The scale of the DWP’s infiltration by the private sector is revealed in a list of the top 100 suppliers to the department in 2009–10 who, between them, walked away with almost £4.6 billion of public funds.

At the top of the list is a company few will ever have heard of, property management company Telereal Trillium who received a staggering £783 million of tax-payer cash.

Next in line was American computer giants Hewlett Packard, who took almost £657 million out of the department.

Further down the list at number six, job brokers A4E walked away with over £150 million of public money, even though the Public Accounts Committee reported last month that A4E had:

“achieved on average less than half what they promised in the contracts they signed with the Department. Against an average target of 36% of participants into work, A4E has to date found work for 15% of mandatory participants.”

Is it any wonder that the owners of these companies suddenly end up in multi-million pound mansions which the disabled and vulnerable are taking their lives in desperation and despair?

Equally dismaying for many claimants will be the discovery that Atos Origin also pocketed over £150 million from the public purse In Atos’ case the cash is for carrying out medicals whose findings are overturned in over 50% of appeals relating to incapacity benefit and over 40% of appeals relating to employment
and support allowance.

Sadly, ministers planning to slash public spending are unlikely to be looking here for savings when it is so much easier to simply take cash from sick and disabled claimants instead.


Jobcentreplus leaked memo puts lives at risk

The Guardian reports on a “six-point plan” being distributed to DWP workers dealing with job seeker’s who
claim to be suicidal. Here it is in all its glory:

  1. As most job seekers are liars and cheats many threats of suicide are likely to be bogus. It is important to establish the genuine suicide cases from those who are attempting to skive workfare provision. Job seekers should be asked which methods of suicide they have considered, or whether they have taken opportunity of the countless suicide website’s to research their opinion and network with other suicidal individuals. Have they found a suicide buddy yet?  Fifteen minutes access on the Job Search computer may be allocated to job seekers to research suicide websites as well as the effective fatal administration of prescribed medication, self-gassing, hanging, slit wrists and stabbing themselves in the heart. It is vital that job seekers are empowered to make choices about options themselves, with the encouragement and continued support of the DWP.
  2. Once satisfied that a job seeker’s claim of feeling suicidal is genuine then it is important vulnerable claimants feel motivated and empowered in this decision. Explain to claimants that suicide may well be an appropriate outcome for some people and that they should not feel stigmatised or discouraged by friends and family. Many job seekers who have committed suicide in the past have been completely successful outcomes for the DWP, with none seeking further benefits or training support. Whilst we remain committed to finding people employment at Jobcentre Plus we fully recognise, and will co-operate with, the more complex needs of some of our target group. No-one is to be discriminated against for committing suicide.
  3. We recognise and understand that for many long term job seekers suicide can seem challenging and
    daunting. Encourage claimants to take small steps. Suicide statistics reveal that suicide attempts, far from being selfish, are in fact a ‘call for help’ with many going on to kill themselves properly in later attempts. DO NOT DE-MOTIVATE CLIENTS WHO ATTEMPT SUICIDE AND FAIL! Remind them gently there’s always a next time and discuss more effective methods of self-administering fatal injury.
  4. It is not uncommon for job seekers to become anxious or agitated in the lead up to their suicide. Whilst distressing for client advisors, who may well have worked hard towards this outcome, these doubts can be overcome. Explain to the job seeker that they are worthless and their lives are not worth living.  Referring to them as chav scum, parasites; useless eaters is perfectly acceptable in this case. Re-enforce any negative or self-destructive behaviour whilst cautioning against statements of self-worth, dignity or confidence. The DWP is investing heavily in encouraged suicide, in return we expect suicidal job seekers to ‘do their bit’ as well. It is entirely appropriate to discuss the possibility of benefit sanctions if the client appears to be ‘bottling out’.
  5. Whilst all methods of suicide are to be viewed as ‘positive outcomes’ it is important to distinguish responsible suicide from irresponsible and anti-social behaviour. Throwing yourself from a bridge or under a train, whilst it has a positive impact on unemployment figures, may put pressure on other Government agencies. A quiet suicide, in the job seeker’s own home, is to be encouraged.  If the client is homeless then jumping in the Thames on a cold Winter’s night may be a seen as a reasonable and environmentally responsible approach.
  6. Workfare providers A4e will be rolling out the Work Programme Suicidal Clients Option soon. Job seeker’s will spend thirty hours a week at A4e’s offices being told they are shit and worthless. It is anticipated that this will dovetail with A4e’s current job search provision, meaning both mainstream and suicidal clients can be told they are shit and worthless together. This will not only minimise
    costs, but will allow clients previously considered ‘job ready’ to consider whether more appropriate action may be taken towards a successful outcome for the DWP.

The above is courtesy of http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/ and while it all sounds a little far fetched, in reality this is exactly what happens – the DWP and JCP continue their witch-hunt against the most vulnerable while themselves guilty of corruption and fraud on a grand scale.

DWP, Grayling and Duncan-Smith – not fit for purpose

It is reported in The Telegraph that Chris Grayling, minister for employment, suggests that up to 800,000 people will be assessed as ‘fit for work’.  What this is saying is that ATOS, the French IT company who recently won an extension to their contract with the DWP and were awarded another £300million over the next three years have been given a target of ousting ‘a significant number’ of people off Incapacity Benefit.

Mr Grayling’s ill-informed suggestions aside, perhaps as Employment Minister he’d like to direct the nation to his set of policies on job creation because there seems to be a distinct lack of them in the marketplace.

Many people have been channelled onto Incapacity Benefits by the government (it doesn’t matter which colour) as a means of massaging the unemployment figures into a downward trend to support other policies at the time.

We now have a government that is trying to blame those on IB for being there and suggesting that they are at fault when they were put there by the DWP of the time.

Yes, it’s right that everyone should have access to a job; to feel the pride of supporting ones family, of having a purpose in life but to suggest that the pool of available jobs around the country can be filled by those coming off Incapacity Benefit is simply spin of the most inane order.

Yes, Mr Average in Brixton would love to get the salary that goes with the job in Brighton but he doesn’t necessarily have the skills and won’t be selected for interview because he’s outside the area and even though Duncan-Smith feels that they can ride the bus to the next town it is entirely possible that the umpteen hundred other applicants will be closer.

ATOS is being paid £300million to purge the benefits system of people who have been marginalised and socially stigmatised for many years, some to the point where they know no other life other than being on benefits – it’s not right but it’s not necessarily their fault.

Whether Mr Grayling wants to admit it or not when he says “The goal of a reassessment is to provide specialist support to those   who have the potential to return to work. There is no financial target.   There is no goal to achieve.” he is quite simply lying through his back teeth.  There are hidden agendas; there are financial targets and motivations for ATOS and there is a goal of ousting as many people from the benefit as possible – regardless of ability.

There should be job opportunities for anyone who is fit for work or even those who want to overcome their disabilities and find a job anyway but there simply are no jobs of sufficient scope and magnitude to satisfy the need; not everyone has an aptitude for clerical, office or IT work; not everyone has an aptitude to work outside or to work with their hands but there are no opportunities for anyone to find out what their aptitudes are and this is the fundamental problem.

While small business owners are being red-taped into oblivion the government is content to see up to 73% of the working population in certain areas working for or on behalf of local or central government.  There is no need for creativity in government, only the ability to push paper and abdicate responsibility, clock up as much TOIL as possible, go home early, avoid controversy, retire on a pension paid by others and die.

When the DWP use terrorist laws to close down companies that create jobs for disabled people that in turn serve the community while themselves running monstrosities such as Remploy which lose £2.2million a week and put disabled people out of work while paying their executives £million’s in bonuses despite ‘requests’ from Duncan-Smith to reduce those bonuses, we are left wondering what exactly is the purpose of the DWP, Iain Duncan-Smith and Chris Grayling?

Where are the job making plans Mr Grayling?  Where is the support for the small business to provide jobs at a local level for individuals?  Where are the opportunities for manual workers, training for apprentices, development of skills being lost through a lack of training; who will build tomorrows world – robots?

The DWP can run their own witch-hunt, Mr Grayling should be concerning himself (as minister for employment) with where the jobs come from – how people will be able to take control of their own lives, that is his role and he doesn’t seem to be doing it very well.


Expenses fraud still out of control in the House of Lords

Instead of reigning in expenses and saving the public-purse some money, the House of Lords expenses system has shown an increase in expenses paid to the peers in the first three months of implementation to a whopping £6million – that compares to £4.5million in the same period the previous year.

Peers such as Lord Taylor of Warwich and Lord Hanningfield have been found guilty of cheating on their expense claims and have been convicted of fraud – neither of them have had the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) applied to them and although they have been order to repay thousands of pounds back, they have held on to their homes and their lives while less fortunates have to deal with a complete and utter destruction of their lives at the hands of the government departments such as the DWP.

While ordinary people are being crippled by the use of terrorist legislation used inappropriately, MPs, council officers, civil servants and even the expenses watchdog are getting away with spending tax-payers money for personal items and for personal gain – the inequity is staggering.


Thieving whitehall civil servants want to keep cookie jar closed

Senior civil servants who are responsible for the unlawful spending of vast sums of public money on luxury items via the public-purse funded ‘procurement’ cards (or credit cards to you and us) are fighting tooth-and-nail to keep their dirty secrets away from public scrutiny.

This begs that age old question – what do they have to hide?  We’ve already seen £millions spent on things that no government department can justify – including thousands of pounds in Soho ‘private members’ clubs.  These so-called mandarins know that money has been spent inappropriately and that they will have to account for that spending when it reaches an outraged public.

We are very keen to see how departments like the DWP have spent our money – we already know that money has been spent on £561.25 for fast food; £10,542.55 at ‘gift, card and novelty shops’; £1,045.74 at ‘home supply warehouse stores’; £524.40 at ‘record shops and a whopping £68,162.00 at catalogue and retail shops (Argos); £544.85 for ‘family clothing’ with a further £77,732.74 for books, newspapers and periodicals.

When young mothers are taking their babies in their arms and jumping from buildings ending both their lives because they have been pushed to despair and desperation by the DWP benefits witch-hunt while thieving civil servants at the DWP are spending hundreds of pounds at the local McDonald’s, who can expect anything but contempt for these people – where is the justice; where is the equality?

These ‘civil servants’ have been caught with their hands in the cookie jar and are crying because they have to account for their theft and greed; they are following hot on the heels of MPs, council officials and even the so-called expenses watchdog – there is nothing right about this situation yet we’re expected to put up with it.  Lawful Rebellion is certainly on our agenda as wave after wave of corruption and deceit come to light while the rest of our poor sheep are expected to cut back.


DWP – the unfairness of the capability test

For anyone who is interested in the topic but not the machinations of The Guardian here is an article published Friday 3 June 2011 containing letters from readers.

I support the views expressed in several articles in your edition of 1 June (Experts: cuts create mental health crisis; Letters; Was listening to the doctor’s diatribe a part of the test?) relating to the government’s targeting of the most vulnerable in society, ie those afflicted with mental illness, in order to produce minimal savings. The personal capability assessment is aimed at depriving those who currently struggle to cope of a small amount of weekly financial support. This is not only necessary from a financial point of view, but has the even greater value to the recipient in that it provides some kind of security in an existence often ridden with anxiety and fear. It is little wonder that some who have been subject to the threat of having this removed have sadly been driven to take their own lives.

It is incomprehensible that any government should feel that those in this category would choose to pose as ill and “cheat the system”. I would hazard that every single one of those entitled to the support would exchange it instantly for a cure of what is a much-misunderstood illness. Moreover, the concept that a multiple-choice test (as it would seem to be) with very general categories could generate any sensible information on a condition that can not only change on a daily basis, but even within one day, illustrates a total lack of understanding on the part of the company that has been brought in to implement this strategy, an example of the private sector being allowed to benefit from the frailty of others.

Susan Randall


• The government says it is committed to a “fair and accurate” work capability assessment. The distress and injustice caused by this new system needs to be publicised far and wide.

My brother died last week of kidney cancer. He was diagnosed a year ago and at Christmas was told he had about four months to live. In the spring he was summoned for a work capability assessment (by this time he had two brain tumours) and found fit for work. In addition to everything else, he became anxious about losing the small amount of money he was living on. He was asked to go in to the jobcentre for an interview but was too ill at the time. On 19 May he received a letter from Jobcentre Plus telling him he was to be treated as having limited capability for work. The medical officer overseeing his case had advised that “death within six months is unlikely to occur due to the client’s cancer” and there would be no “substantial risk to his mental or physical health if he were found capable of work-related activity”.

He died six days later, having been unable to get out of bed for four weeks. What work were they suggesting he was capable of? He asked: “What have I paid national insurance for if not help to pay the bills and feed me at a time like this?”

Claire Debenham


ID card idiocy – coalition want us tagged by October despite civil liberties concerns

The coalition government were scathing of Labours plans for an ID register and scrapped those plans as soon as they got in – with a general sigh of relief all around.  It is now reported that they have quietly begun work on a new national identity system which is due to be in place as early as October.

They claim that the purpose of the scheme is to cut Whitehall administration costs by delivering public services on-line via the web which is all well and good but when nearly half the UK population have no internet access, they will be excluded from accessing such services.

Francis Maude tries to justify the governments position by claiming:

“Currently customers have to enter multiple login details and passwords to access different public services, sometimes on the same website,” said  Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister responsible for the cross-government plan.

“This involves significant duplication, is expensive to operate and is highly   inconvenient for users.”

Which is all well and good but the various departments have chosen to implement diverse and conflicting systems with no logical or consistent front-end; the multitude of login requirements for different public services should have been taken into account in the first place and there is no real indication that an ID card will ease this problem – the front-end of each government website has to be adjusted whether you have a card or a single ID and PIN; the logic doesn’t hold water.

His further claims of “identity assurance” is also nonsense because no system is 100% secure and when dependency is placed entirely on the basis of a single form of ID, then the civil servants and bureaucrats will need to think less and simply take up the cry of ‘computer sez no’ – it’s a recipe for disaster and the government is spinning a tale to justify the implementation of the new ID system. (Cartoonby: Royston Robertson).

A full report was presented to the DWP over a year ago highlighting the failure of the various government websites to provide the information they claim is there; broken links, dead-ends and errors were all documented and presented to the DWP who failed to consider the issues and simply buried the problem thereby preventing disabled people from accessing the services they required.

People are being taken to court by councils for non-payment of council tax, when they have every payment receipt in their hands yet because someone has neglected to do their job, a box does not get ticked and the computer generates a letter leading to a summons to appear before the Judge and all because there is no need to think because the computer does it for you.

Public services should include personality, humanity and accessibility – this trend of putting even more distance between the master and slave (the tax-payer being the master should there be any doubt) is worrisome because it reduces the public to a numbered statistic rather than a human being.

We notice that the primary intention is the identity assurance nonsense to bolster forthcoming radical reforms to the benefits system which will invariably hit disabled people the hardest as they have the most barriers between them and the use of computer technology.

Guy Herbert, the general secretary of NO2ID hits the nail on the head when he comments that the bureaucratic imperative to collect and share data will take precedence no matter what the original intentions of this scheme might be.